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Food-quality guidelines to be released

CONSUMERS will soon have a better idea of their rights in the event of another food-quality scandal as a supermarket association is to release information about recalling substandard products.

The China Chain Store Franchise Association, which oversees most of the chain stores in China, will release details of the guidelines this week at its annual meeting.

The association said the document is designed to help streamline responses to food-safety emergencies.

"It will include practical advice designed specifically to help businesses, primarily supermarkets, to react more effectively to food safety scandals," said an official surnamed Wang.

The document stresses the need for government inspections and more checks by supermarkets. Every incidence of problematic food should be reported to manufacturers and local authorities, the guidelines say.

It usually takes a few weeks for government agencies to test suspect products and reach any conclusions - a period during which supermarkets suffer as the public tends to shun their goods in case there's a problem.

Supermarket managers said locals tend to hold supermarkets responsible for food problems.

"It damages our reputation whether we pull the products in time or not," said Hu Minghua from Wal-Mart.

Supermarkets have faced a series of quality problems this year, with baby-care products and cosmetics both coming under scrutiny for possibly containing carcinogens.


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